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Solution for Encore Black Menu Bug

Posted by Jon Geddes
10:01 am on November 18th, 2009

Encore black menu

We had a couple people email us about a bug in Encore that caused the menus to not display when using the dynamic link feature. It was difficult to troubleshoot the problem because we could not reproduce it here on our end. We recently encountered the problem and quickly got to work on a solution.

Unfortunately we have not discovered what triggers this bug, but we do know what is going on, and we have a solution:

When you set a motion background asset for a menu, Encore grabs the first frame of the video (or first frame of where the loop point is set), and displays that in the menu panel. When a dynamic linked composition from After Effects is used as the motion background, AE is loaded quietly in the background, which loads the composition, and Encore asks AE for the frame. Well, the bug seems to effect this communication, and Encore does not receive that first frame of the composition from AE, and simply displays a black frame (as shown in the image above).

In order to kick AE in gear and get it to pass the frame to Encore properly, you need to launch AE yourself in the background and just minimize it, no need to open any projects. With AE open in the background, Encore properly gets the frame and displays it in the menu display panel.

Now if for some reason Encore doesn’t update the image after you load AE (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t), you will need to refresh the menu image by changing the loop point of the menu to anything (such as 00:01:00), then back to 00:00:00. This will effectively refresh the image and get it to display correctly.

We have updated our product support page to reflect this information.

15 Responses to “Solution for Encore Black Menu Bug”

  1. Mike says:

    I have never ran into this bug, but if I ever do I will know how to fix it! Thanx!

  2. David says:

    is this why when playing a for example a bluray disk on a PS3 that the screen goes black between menus and transitions? I recently burned a bluray and the client complained about this. On my sony bluray player it “paused” the screen then the transition played. When i tested the same disk on my PS3 the screen went black for a half second then the transition video played followed by another half second of black until the next menu played.

  3. Jon Geddes says:

    No, this is a completely different bug. The black between menus/transitions that you describe is not a problem with the authoring, but with the player. Some players will freeze the last frame of the previous menu/transition as it loads the next, and other players will show a black frame. Most players do properly freeze the frame, causing the transitions to be much more seamless.

  4. Amin says:

    This is getting really frustrated for me, i’ve tried both method, yet still i’m getting black menus. I would really appreciate it you can help me on this as I would like to use this for my client project.

  5. Jon Geddes says:

    This should not effect final output, only preview. If you can, import the menu assets directly, set as background to align your buttons if necessary, then replace background with dynamic link asset. Build disc and everything should be okay.

  6. Amin says:

    I have Adobe Master Collection, for some reason I can’t import Adobe After Effect Compositions from Dynamic Link. Any reason for this?

  7. Jon Geddes says:


    Are your After Effects and Encore the same version? (both CS3 or both CS4)

  8. Amin says:

    Hello Jon,

    I have the Adobe Master Collection CS4, so yes definately all are CS4.

  9. Jon Geddes says:

    You will have to have Adobe Support help you with that, as you should have access to dynamic link if you are using the master collection. You might try a fresh install of your adobe suite (which is probably what they will recommend).

  10. Mike says:

    i tried 2 methods on fixing this but i still get the black preview and even when i build my project it comes out black except for the transitions my guess is that dyn_link is not linking the animations to the menus what can i do to fix it

  11. Jon Geddes says:

    Try importing the rendered menus directly into Encore instead of using the dynamic link.

  12. Try setting the loop point on the menu that is turning black to 10 seconds. This fixed it for me. For me it is the Main Menu that is black even if I import the rendered AE project myself.

  13. Andrew says:

    To anyone struggling with a black menu, just always check if you haven’t by accident switched off the “Background” layer in Photoshop! Took me 8 hours to finally realize this was the issue the entire time!!
    Once I switched it back on (right-click, “Edit menu in PS”) I switched the loop point to 10sec and back again to 0sec (as you suggested) and everything was sorted.

    Thanx guys!

  14. Koh Xu says:

    I’m having the same black screen or rather background turning black problem and its nothing to do with dynamic link. It happens when I adjust the loop point timecode because I want the buttons to be available immediately and not wait till the loop is over, but whenever I change the loop point numbers, my background image will be erased and replaced by a black background. I went to ‘edit in photoshop’ to check and indeed, encore has deleted my background image and replaced it with a black image. I’m new to encore, but this seems like a bug to me, unless I’m doing something wrong here. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

  15. Jon Geddes says:

    Encore displays the frame from the motion menu background at that timecode. You do not want the loop point to start any earlier than 10 seconds.

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